It’s been 30 years since Thelma and Louise tore up movie screens with its visceral story of two female outlaws that set the standard for feminist cinema. Simply put, it is one of the most important– and iconic– films ever made.
The groundbreaking movie, which starred Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis as the Arkansas waitress and housewife—both Oscar-nominated for their roles—was simply a film concept that had never been explored before. Both brave actresses gave us bold performances that were funny, heartbreaking, and vivacious, but mostly, completely original in their complexity. These were realistic and flawed women, who utterly captivated.
Callie Khouri insisted on keeping that visually spectacular ending where the turquoise Thunderbird took off over the cliff, with Thelma and Louise setting their own destiny as if they were transcending the earthly confines that had always betrayed them.
Throw in a very sexy debut for Brad Pitt, confident direction by Ridley Scott, and the stunning backdrop of the red tones of the canyon that permeate throughout, and the film is just utter cinephile perfection. If I were to choose 5 films to bring with me to a desert island, Thelma and Louise would be among them.
There has never been a movie with two female outlaws like Thelma and Louise. Davis’s and Sarandon’s performances reverberate off the screen. They are fascinating, humorous, while at the same time empowering. Ultimately, they become utterly bad**s and we loved them for it.
“At the time, it was revolutionary to have two women in a film that weren’t enemies and were having fun together on screen,” Susan Sarandon explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “I think that’s been one of the biggest breakthroughs — today there are so many brilliant female actors making films where women aren’t adversarial to each other and have the power to determine their own destiny.”
Thirty years later and Thelma and Louise really still does set the standard.
For its 30th anniversary, Sarandon and Davis are both attending a special screening of the film at a drive-in at L.A. Greek Theatre on June 18.
Both actresses will attend a prescreening Q & A. Ticket sales will benefit two organizations dear to both women: The L.A. Regional Food Bank for Susan Sarandon and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media for Davis. Davis is also actively promoting more opportunities with her inspiring Bentonville Film Festival in Bentonville, AR, taking place in August.
“We’ve seen it outdoors once before, a number of years ago at Cannes,” Sarandon said, to Entertainment Tonight in an interview with both actresses, “and I’ve gotta say, it plays really well outside.”
One of the most remarkable aspects of the film is the precedent-setting feeling of camaraderie and strong friendship that shines throughout. There weren’t any films like that at the time, and quite honestly, there haven’t been a whole lot since either. It’s why women loved watching these two misbehaving. They were reacting to what was around them, how they were treated, how women were treated, and they had each other’s back.
“ I thought we were doing, like, a cowboy movie with women in trucks instead of, you know, and it was going to be fun because we were outlaws and everything,” continued Sarandon. “But it’s true that most films I’ve been in if there was more than one woman, they were automatically your enemy. If there was an older woman and a younger woman, they hated each other because one was older and one was younger. Very rarely were the two women friends.”
Both activist women also commented on that masterful ending, absconding their fates up in the air, and leaving the audience with one of the most iconic film images ever.
“We had one take as the sun was going down,” described Sarandon.
“There had been a lot of other dialogue in the scene, and we just took that out and put that over a chase scene, because by this time, it seemed like we should be finishing each other’s sentences rather than going on a long discourse. And I just said to Ridley and Geena, I said, “I’d really like to kiss you,” so that’s what we did. One take. One juicy romantic take and then off we go into Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid area.”
“It was really magical the way it happened, because for me,” added Davis, “when I turned to look at Susan, the characters are saying goodbye to each other but [it was] the end of this incredible experience. It was not acting. It was just reality for me.”
“We really earned it by that time,” added Sarandon.
To find about the screening, visit Cinespia’s website.
Have you seen Thelma & Louise? Share your thoughts on the film in the comments.